Would you rather lead from the front or follow through?

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Leaders and Followers are both vital to the fabric of any organization. As much as you need leaders to set the path and motivate others to follow through, you also need productive followers who are willing to listen, learn and execute on the plan set before them. No organization can do without one or the other.

The world is mostly made up of followers and a subset of leaders. Of course, leadership is a learned trait and most of us play both roles within certain limits.

Leadership is about:

  • Developing a vision, sharing it and building support around it.
  • Strategizing and planning execution to realize the vision.
  • Leading execution of the strategy while overseeing the completion of planned goals.

These tenets are universal to any organization and are mostly measured through fiscal success, I mean EBIDTA, profits, market share, stock value etc.

But, true leadership has other dimensions as well; corporate social responsibility and emotionally intelligent people management being two of these.

An organization that aspires for success ensures that every associate in the organization knows and lives the true reason of its existence. In order for this to happen, every leader in the organization, from the CEO to line management needs to imbibe and practice the principles of valuing the people assets of the organization. Customers and those that serve them are equally important to the organization. Motivating associates to perform to their potential by managing their individual hot buttons and then, channeling this work to meet the needs of the clients is the salient execution principle of any successful organization. This ultimately leads to the realization of organizational goals, the yardstick it measures its success by.

At all levels of management, a prime factor of success is optimal people management. The amount of effort put into strategizing and planning an organization’s path also has to be put into managing and growing the people assets who are instrumental in realizing the plan. With leaders that share in the vision and willing followers, any organization is destined to meet its set goals!

Finally, an organization has to think and act beyond itself.  Making an impact in the community it thrives in and standing up to be a pillar of the community’s progress enhance the perpetuity of the organization and take it beyond the plans it was conceived with. That, in sum is the true culmination of its existence and success.

Now, ask yourself some key questions to understand where you are and how you need to fine-tune your work style to get where you want to be;

  • What do you do for work? Do you believe in the vision set forth by your organization?
  • Are you a leader or follower?
  • As a leader,
    • How much do you value your team? Do you take time to listen to them or are you just giving instructions most of the time expecting follow through?
    • Do you treat your team with the same respect that you expect of them?
    • Is your team totally sold on your idea of execution so that it will be a success?
    • Do you know your team members’ hot buttons so you can work on keeping them motivated and provide direction and help in the realization of their goals?
    • Do you exhibit enough appreciation for what your team does?
  • As a follower,
    • Do you truly believe in the vision and plan set forth by your leadership? If not, do you question and make suggestions?
    • Do you listen and follow through per expectations? Do you go beyond?
    • Do you feel a valued member of your team? If not, do you express concern and work with your leader to ensure mutual transparency and work to build a plan to help get there?
    • Do you offer suggestions and new ways of doing things?
    • Can you be the best lieutenant your leader can ever find?

Find your answers, make your course corrections and let me assure you, the journey towards your goals will be as fulfilling as attaining them!

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Are you a true leader?


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A leader is one who leads, both in strategy and in execution. However, in the corporate world, somehow strategy is over-rated. A good strategist might not be a good executioner and vice versa. But, to be a good leader, you need to ace in both. Alright, if not ace, at least strive to ace in both.

Strategy is important to ensure game changing tactics that will turn things in your favor or in the direction you desire. But, a well laid out strategy just doesn’t win the game. The application of that strategy and its perfect execution becomes all the more important. Because, there are no results without execution. An idea or dream is not true until realized. It’s just that, an idea or a dream.

Execution, by itself can be a futile attempt, if the plan is not well thought and laid out. A good leader is one who understands the interdependency of strategy and execution, applies intellect to strategize and discipline to execute. A true leader is one who leads from the front in either area. Not someone, who plans but leaves the execution to others.

One clarification, I do want to make is that, a leader also has to trust and delegate. But, this is a learned trait and one that sharpens with experience. An aide, who the leader can depend on to perform to set expectations, is a great candidate to delegate to. This does not necessarily mean that the aide has to be a replica of the leader. Every person is unique. Different traits can be applied in different scenarios and that is where a leader’s acumen comes into play, to choose the right delegates for the right part of the job. There are those that may see this as a part of strategy itself. But, in order to make these decisions, a leader needs to have spent time leading execution as well, from the front. That is when, at a later time, the leader can afford to lead through delegation, yet have complete control over the execution.

Some may argue that in today’s world, a few things can be learnt from others’ experiences. Absolutely! But, execution and delegation, I do not think they come that easy. If you want to ensure that every time you lead, you come out a winner; the best experience is your very own.